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Viking Cruise October 2014
And for two weeks in October 2014 I joined the Smyril Line Viking Cruise. Personal contact matters to me when I book a holiday. When I called Smyril Line I received a warm and positive response to my questions, it was very nice to feel welcome.
When I travel solo it is very important for me to be able to call and get clear answers to my questions. As for the prices, I felt they were reasonable considering the quality, value and duration of the journey, it all matched up.
During the first week I participated in all the excursions offered by Smyril Line. After my first round-trip, I boarded Norröna again on Saturday to spend the second week relaxing and reading on board and exploring the islands on my own for new adventures. I think it was the perfect way to travel. The first week was very stimulating, given my interest in history and culture, while the second allowed me to could relax and meet people.
The programme with four excursions I participated in during the first week was well planned, but a Smyril Line holiday also offers great flexibility; you can tailor the whole journey to suit you.
On board Norröna I was very pleased to find that the staff were very accommodating and the atmosphere relaxed. The whole crew radiates genuine warmth and their personality shines through when you talk to them. The cleaning staff was also just lovely and the service was of the highest standard. Norröna has a 24-hour reception on board, so there is always someone to ask, this gives a sense of security, even when you are travelling alone, you are not on your own.
I also found the size of the ship quite suitable. The vessel offers a whole range of facilities, but there is still a sense of closeness on board. It is easy to recognise people and strike up conversation with fellow travellers, which makes for a more intimate atmosphere. In general, when you are on holiday and stay at a hotel, it is hard to make contact with others, because everyone has planned their own itinerary, but on a ship there is plenty of opportunity for a chat and a cup of coffee with other passengers. All in all, Norröna felt very homey and there were neither too many nor too few people on board. In the evenings there was live music in Naust bar, which I really enjoyed. The music appealed to a varied audience and it was cosy and pleasant.
For me as a teacher, the contents of the excursions in Iceland and the Faroes was highly rewarding. The trips gave us ample opportunity to learn something about the countries and the guides were very good at sharing both expertise and anecdotes. In Tórshavn we went on a walk in the old part of town and I had the opportunity to ask the guide questions, while he also entertained us with local tall tales.
One of the most memorable moments in the Faroes was the trip to the village Kirkjubøur. Here we had the chance to see ruins of the Magnus Cathedral, as well as visit the oldest church still in use in the Faroes, St. Olaf’s Church. Afterwards we had tea and pastries in the estate farmhouse, this made a great impression on me, because we were invited into the family’s private home. The formal reception room is kept as a museum and this visit was very exciting for me, because I am interested in history and the Viking Age and it is presumed that the history of Kirkjubøur dates back to the Viking Age in the Faroes.
In Seydisfjörður in Iceland I went for a stroll one day and came upon the local school. I took a look inside and it was quite an experience to see the school. Vatnajökull National Park was an exciting experience. Visiting Skriðuklaustur, which is cultural and historical centre dedicated to Gunnar Gunnarsson, was simply unforgettable. I have read a number of his novels and it was fascinating to get a guided tour of the house and see how he lived and wrote.
I have already booked my place on the Viking Cruise trips in 2015. In fact, I will be going on three cruises in 2015 in weeks 41, 42 and 43. I am really looking forward to setting out again. I am still in touch with a number of people I met on the Viking Cruises and next year’s trips will also be an opportunity to see them again.
I would recommend Smyril Line’s holiday options for singles or others travelling on their own, because of the great flexibility. Smyril Line lets you travel the way you please with both an All Inclusive option and a Basic package, which allows you to add any extras you choose. When you feel like company, you will find it, and when you are looking for solitude, likewise. It is easy to interact with others on the trip, because all the passengers are open and chat when they meet in the ship’s corridors and at meals, and it is all very calm and unobtrusive.
Overall you can expect an unusual and unique experience at many different levels when you travel with Smyril Line. It is all about nature, history, culture, interscandinavian and international sharing, time alone for reading and recreation, hours idling in the cosy café or bar with good music on board the atmospheric Norröna.